In Copley Square, tangy aroma from a pushcart grill, and football
The sun burst through the clouds at the exact moment of the spring equinox, flooding Copley Square with a warmth absent so long that it almost seemed exotic.
Lunchtime walkers wore sunglasses. Two sprouts broke through the hard mud in a flower bed. A football took flight as part of an impromptu game that had two teams scurrying across brown grass.
Eliza Dermendjian worked the grill on her Chicken Kabob pushcart, the tangy smoke curling down the sidewalk and enticing passersby to celebrate their first al fresco lunch of the season.
“This is a sign of spring,” said Justin Rosenbaum, a 29-year-old property manager from Waltham who had thought about this chicken kabob on dark January afternoons. “This has been a brutal winter.”
Cinzia Coppola waited for her lunch in short sleeves as she clutched an iced coffee — two acts of defiance to prove she had not been broken by the cold. Coppola, 25, ordered a chicken salad with the creamy Greek dressing that made it something special.
“I’ve been waiting all winter,” Coppola said.
Wrapped in a purple Tibetan scarf, Michelle Nguyen squinted in the sunlight.
She ordered chicken and rice, determined to eat outside.
But as the therapist from New York took her lunch, the sun disappeared behind a cloud. A cold wind cut across the square. Nguyen, 37, drew her scarf tight.
“It’s been keeping me warm all winter,” she said. “But I’m ready to store it in the closet.”
Children collect shells, runners open their stride as sunny skies bathe Revere Beach
REVERE — As she watched her 4-year-old grandson play in the sand, a pail of clam shells by his side, Belinda Borgatti could hardly stop smiling. The sun was out, shimmering on the water and shining warm through a brisk breeze. The snow was almost gone, reduced to harmless chunks.
Best of all, Borgatti said as she turned her face toward the sun, was that people seemed happy. Couples strolled Revere Beach, laughing as the waves came in. Runners, free from their winter gear, opened up their stride. Walkers waved to each other as they passed.
“We’ve been waiting for this day,” Borgatti said Thursday.
Borgatti, 61, had been hoping to celebrate spring’s arrival, and was disappointed by a cloudy morning. But by early afternoon, the official start of spring, the sky was clear, and hopes were high. The beach beckoned.
“It’s so nice to finally get out of the house,” she said. “Looking out at the ocean, it’s so relaxing.”
It was not quite beach weather, but compared to a cruel winter, it felt like June. A few weeks ago, it was hard to even remember summer, people said. Thursday, you could.
As his two children ran along the beach, Samuel Solito stood still in the sun. He had driven a long way to visit family here, 26 hours from Oklahoma. But it was worth it. Spring was here, and the wind chased the shadows from the beach.
Despite dirty piles of snow, the new season begins to bloom at Wayland garden center
WAYLAND — It was moving day at Russell’s Garden Center.
Workers hauled pansies and lettuce, the first sprigs of spring vegetation, from enclosed greenhouses to an outdoor space with plastic sides that can be flung open to the warmth of the day and shuttered against the chill of spring nights.
“We needed 50 degrees,” said Elizabeth Russell, president of the shop. “I’d love to say it’s because of the first day of spring, but if it was 20, we wouldn’t be doing it.”
Inside, the shop offered the promise of the flowers, herbs, and plants to come. But the dirty snow piles and puddles in the parking lot were reminders that it takes time for winter to retreat.
Shoppers, arriving in the first minutes of the season, sought the wares of spring: seeds, pots, tools.
A rectangular room once stuffed with Christmas trees was stocked floor to ceiling with grass seed. Silk flower wreaths and Easter ornaments hung on display.
“It’s just very exciting for us because spring is the biggest part of the year for us,” Russell said. “It means pansies and plants and flowers and pussy willows and forsythias coming into bloom.”
Ed and Nancy Adams, a Marlborough couple married for 53 years, stocked up on seed for the birds that live around their home.
“I’ve still got 15 inches of snow in my yard, so right now, I can’t do a lot,” Ed Adams said.“The birds come back in force. We’ve got robins already in the yard.”
After this teeter-tooter winter, South Boston playground is a place of warm dreams
At South Boston’s Joe Moakley Park, it appeared that few had received the memo spring was poised to spring. The football field — empty. The basketball courts — desolate. A few joggers and dog walkers took to the sidewalk in jackets and long tights.
But on the park’s playground, 62-year-old Beatrice Lacombe knew full well that spring was imminent, unsurprised at the news that 12 minutes remained, technically, in this long, miserable winter.
“We’ve been counting,” Lacombe said, as she watched her 17-month-old grandson, Brady, toddle toward a slide.
Lacombe — who lives in Andover, Conn. — said there were other signs winter must soon reach its conclusion. At her home, the large reserves of firewood had dwindled to almost nothing.
Brady’s mother, Regina Laine, a 33-year-old nurse practitioner living in South Boston, carried the boy to the swing set.
Swaddled in a thick blue jacket with a hood covering his ears, he furrowed his eyebrows in anguish, a sign he was mere moments from tears. He was probably hungry, Lacombe suggested. Or cold.
“The wind doesn’t help much,” Lacombe said, as she pulled her red jacket tighter. “I just can’t wait to ditch the scarf, ditch the hat.”
When the clock struck springtime, it didn’t feel much warmer.
Laine sighed. Once it really feels like spring, she said, her family would make their first trip to Castle Island and to Sullivan’s.
Lacombe had her own plan. “I’m going to the Cape,” she said. “Give me the beach.”